The thought of perineal stretching is to desensitize, prepare the introitus for childbirth, and potentially aid in decreasing the risk for tearing that may occur with childbirth. The research on perineal stretching is all over the board. However, with that being said, the risks of perineal stretching are low. So why not give it a try?!
Perineal stretching is pressure applied using 1 finger (if partner is helping to stretch) or thumb (if self-stretching) to the opening of the vagina (anatomically called the introitus). Pressure will only be applied to the bottom half. If you are looking at a clock it is the area from 3 to 9. It is recommended to perform light press and holds, as well as sweeping motions. You can stretch for as little as 1-2 minutes, but no more than 5 minutes is needed. If you have the space and can maneuver, try it in the shower for a quick stretch session. Don’t forget to use lube!
Keep perineal stretching in mind for postpartum, especially if you had tearing occur. Once the perineum has healed the tissues can often have less mobility, pliability and be sensitive to the touch. You can utilize perineal stretching to help address these issues so that you can return to intercourse without pain. Yes, returning to sex after childbirth should not be painful.
Lastly, always get approval from your OB or Midwife before implementing! Happy stretching